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Hail, Holy Queen: A celebration in quotes and images

Kristina Glicksman

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Detail of a mosaic on the facade of the cathedral in Siena, Italy. Photo: Petar Miloševic (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!

Every year on the 22nd of August, we celebrate the feast of the Queenship of Mary in which we honour Mary's unique position as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven. In 1954, Pope Pius XII instituted this feast day to call greater attention to Mary's special place in salvation history, in the tradition of our faith since its earliest days, and in the life of every individual person.
To help you celebrate this day and also meditate on this great gift to the Church and to humanity, here are some beautiful thoughts and images from the great font of our Catholic literary and artistic traditions:
Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.
– Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (which proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
The Coronation of the Virgin by Gentile da Fabriano. Source: Wikimedia Commons
This is why the Blessed Virgin is called Powerful—nay, sometimes, All-powerful, because she has, more than anyone else, more than all Angels and Saints, this great, prevailing gift of prayer. No one has access to the Almighty as His Mother has; none has merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen for ever.
Bl. John Henry Newman, Meditation on the Assumption
Detail of a window in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photo: Sharon Mollerus (CC BY 2.0)
So Mary is a Queen. And, for our consolation, we ought to remember that she is a most tender and kind Queen, eager to help us in our miseries. So much so that the Church wants us to call her in this prayer a Queen of Mercy. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
Mosaic by Jacopo Torriti  in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Source: Wikimedia Commons
No one, surely, will doubt that in the kingdom of God the Queen of virgins will join nay, rather, will take the lead in the canticle which only virgins sing. Further than this, I think she will gladden the City of God with a yet sweeter and more thrilling melody, whose enrapturing strains not one among the virgins will be worthy to utter. This song will be reserved to her who alone could glory in her child-bearing a Divine child-bearing. In thus glorying, she glories not in herself, but in Him Whom she brought forth; for God would certainly enrich with singular glory in heaven that Mother whom He prevented with the surpassing grace of bringing Him into the world without prejudice to her virginity.
St. Bernard of ClairvauxSermons on Advent and Christmas
Detail of the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Assuredly she who played the part of the Creator's servant and mother is in all strictness and truth in reality God's Mother and Lady and Queen over all created things.
– St. John Damascene, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
Detail of a window in Chartres Cathedral in France. Source: Wikimedia Commons
We ask you then, our Lady, great Mother of God, lifted high above the choirs of angels, to fill the cup of our heart with heavenly grace; to make it gleam with the gold of wisdom; to make it solid with the power of your virtue; to adorn it with the precious stone of virtues; to pour upon us, O blessed olive-tree, the oil of your mercy to cover the multitude of our sins. By you may we be found fit to be raised to the height of heavenly glory, and to be blessed with the blessed; by the power of Jesus Christ your Son, who this day has raised you above the choirs of angels, crowned you with the diadem of his kingdom, and set you upon the throne of eternal light. To him be honour and glory through endless ages. Let the whole Church say: Amen. Alleluia.
St. Anthony of Padua, Sermon for the Feast of the Assumption
Detail of a window in Canterbury Cathedral in England. Photo: Jules & Jenny (CC BY 2.0)

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ!


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